Umarex Beretta APX Part 2 Part 1
Handling and shooting accuracy
By Dennis Adler
For Beretta, the new APX semi-auto model is its third groundbreaking polymer-framed handgun (along with the Pico and Nano) completing the company’s pistol portfolio and making Beretta one of a handful of manufacturers to offer full sized polymer and metallic framed handguns in both hammer and striker fired operating systems. Carrying that design into the Umarex Beretta APX is actually more of an achievement since the APX is Beretta’s first full sized 9mm striker fired model (the Nano is a subcomact 9mm), and with the CO2 version being introduced at the same time it presents an opportunity to get a hands-on feel for Beretta’s new centerfire 9mm model for less than the cost of two tins of Sig Sauer alloy pellets.
While the Umarex APX is an air pistol first, and a potential training gun second, (somewhat the reverse of Sig Sauer’s philosophy behind its new P320 CO2 models), it is very accurate in design, even though the APX air pistol does not have all of the cartridge model’s working features. As a surrogate for the new polymer framed Beretta, you can still glean the fundamentals of the APX, how it fits the hand, draws, aims, and get a decent approximation of trigger pull, and do it for $500 less than the price of the new 9mm or 40 S&W Beretta models.
Sizing up the CO2 and 9mm models
The 9mm APX has an overall length of 7.55 inches, barrel length of 4.25 inches, a height of 5.6 inches, width of 1.3 inches, and carry weight of 26.8 ounces (empty). The CO2 models specs out with an overall length of 7.38 inches, a barrel length (internal) of 3.5 inches, a height of 5.5 inches, width of 1.3 inches and carry weight (empty) of 24.5 ounces. All very close to the 9mm model’s specifications. As noted in Saturday’s article, the trigger pull on the airgun is 6 pounds, 4.5 ounces, vs. an even 6 pounds average for the 9mm, so initial trigger pull is very close to the actual gun for training. What it lacks is the short reset of the blade safety trigger on the centerfire model.
The key points of interest on the CO2 version are the slide serrations (although slide resistance is very light), white dot sights, grip angle and grip texturing, all of which duplicate the cartridge-firing models. The same applies to the shape and operation of the magazine release, which requires a firm push to drop the 20-shot .177 caliber mag. The full size APX base plate adds to the accurate feel of the magazine when you load the gun, and the accessory rail allows mounting the same lights and laser sighting devises used on the 9mm models.
While about 2.3 ounces lighter than the centerfire pistol, the overall feel of this airgun, balance in the hand and matching low bore axis make it an ideal training aid, as well as a very affordable and realistic handing CO2 blowback action air pistol. And remember we’re talking about a correctly designed Beretta model with high detail Beretta grip logos and factory markings, even an individual fire control housing serial number, all for an investment of less than $70. The APX is one of the most affordable blowback action models available. I might be so bold as to call it an “entry level” blowback action model but far more realistic in appearance and far more accurate with .177 caliber steel BBs than many guns costing up to $25 more. Bottom line here, this is a hot ticket item for beginners and seasoned airgun shooters alike who want the latest semi-auto designs.
Is the APX a contemporary of the new Sig Sauer P320 CO2 model? On a practical application of basic operating skills (holstering, drawing, sighting, and trigger operation), the answer is yes, but less so when it comes to being a BB pistol vs. a pellet-firing model. Given their respective polymer framed designs, put side by side, it’s a tossup for most authentic since both have non-functioning, molded-in components and black nitride finished slides. The trend at the moment, at least from Sig Sauer, which follows a simple approach of providing just what is needed to use the airgun to learn how to handle the cartridge model, the new Beretta APX has almost completely followed suit.
Steel shots downrange
The Umarex Beretta APX is factory rated at 395 fps. With six rounds run through the traps on the ProChrono chronograph the APX averaged 380 fps with Umarex .177 caliber steel BBs. The high velocity ranged from 397 fps to 389 fps, to a low of 362 fps. With its low bore axis design the CO2 model shares the same benefits with sighting since the bore of the barrel is more closely aligned with the top of the hand. With a cartridge gun this also changes recoil dynamics which become more linear (straight back over the top of the hand in line with the gun’s muzzle) and thus recoil feels proportionately lighter. A high bore axis places the sights further above the top of the hand and allows more recoil since the slide is also slightly higher.
While recoil is not an issue with a blowback action CO2 pistol, the practical benefit of the APX is better sighting with the lower bore axis. With the APX CO2 model’s firm, evenly stacking trigger and its clean break, it is easy to keep the gun on target. Ease of reset with full let off of the trigger slows you down, but accuracy at 21 feet with the non-adjustable sights still delivers excellent results. The APX was almost at POA from 21 feet.
Fired in two six round sets, total spread for 12 shots measured 1.7 inches in the 10 and X with a best 5-rounds grouped inside the red dot X at 0.625 inches. Using the Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro green laser the APX delivered a near duplicate 0.625 inch group of five rounds, which further underscores the consistent accuracy of this blowback action air pistol at 21 feet.
However you stack it up; for price, basic operating features including blowback action, a slide that locks back on an empty magazine, ease of handling and consistent accuracy, the new Umarex Beretta APX is much more than the sum of it parts or its MSRP would suggest.
A Word About Safety
Blowback action models like the Umarex Beretta APX provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. All arguns, in general, look like guns, but those based on real cartridge-firing models even more so. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.